Number of students decreasing in community schools in northern RamechhapAccording to school administrations, the number of students has dropped because many families have migrated to cities for employment and other opportunities.
There are few students at Bhagwati Basic School in Kuvukasthali, Umakunda Rural Municipality, Ramechhap. Every class seems vacant due to the small number of students.
Teachers are teaching four to five students in a class that can accommodate at least 50 students. Bharat Basnet, the headmaster, said that the number of students in the school has been decreasing for the last six to seven years. “The number of students dipped lower after the earthquakes of 2015,” said Basnet.
There are no private schools in the rural municipality. According to Basnet, the number of students at the school has decreased as many of the families have migrated to the cities for employment and other opportunities.
These days, only senior citizens are left in the villages. “Most of the males have gone abroad for jobs,” said Basnet, adding that they have also taken their families to towns after they took up foreign employment.
Bhagwati Basic School teaches students up to grade 8. In total, there are 48 students and nine staff members (including teachers) at the school. According to the school records, only three children have been admitted to kindergarten in the current academic year.
The situation is similar in Jadibuti Basic School at Gumdel, in Umakunda Rural Municipality Ward No. 1. In the current academic year, only 31 students have been admitted to the school. Ram Bahadur Karki, the headmaster, said community schools are getting fewer students in recent years. “A limited number of families is living in remote areas. This is why there are fewer students in community schools,” Karki said.
Most of the men in the villages are away for work. Bhim Bahadur Karki, a local man, said the agricultural output is falling. “Locals cannot earn their living solely by cultivating crops. Only a few families who have no other alternatives are found in the remote villages,” he said.
Meanwhile, local units have a plan to merge schools that have few students. Schools in the northern part of Ramechhap are few and far between. “It takes at least two hours to reach one school from another. We cannot send our children to schools far away,” Karki said.